Bill soon on declaration of judges' assets: Moily

Disclosing this here on Friday, Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said, “The judges will have to declare their assets and liabilities. But it is wrong to assume that they (judges) are against it. Also, it is not correct to say judges should not declare assets.”

He was addressing an interactive session organised by the Press Association, a body of accredited journalists.

According to Moily, the file containing the proposals has been “sent to the law secretary to study the draft and I expect it to be ready in two days”.

Asked about a petition pending before the Delhi High Court in this regard, he said the government was not for confrontation with the judiciary, but said, “as  public servants the judges should be accountable. The Judges Accountability Bill is a must and would be introduced”.

Supreme Court judges voluntarily file statements, declaring their assets and liabilities, with the Chief Justice of India. The CJI has so far refused to place the statements in the public domain, insisting that a law be first enacted to prevent misuse of such information.

Moily said as part of the judicial reform, he would submit an action plan by September 15 to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh enumerating a two-pronged strategy that envisaged cutting down the number of pending cases and to reduce the number of litigations.

On impeachment proceedings against Calcutta High Court judge Soumitra Sen, Moily said Justice Sudarshan Reddy of the Supreme Court will replace Justice D K Jain on the committee looking into the allegations. The committee was appointed by the Rajya Sabha chairman after the impeachment proceedings were taken up in the Upper House. The report will be ready shortly. Firm that the government will go ahead with the impeachment, Moily said there was instance of such proceedings in Independent India. “This time it is going to happen,” the minister insisted.

Talking about the contentious law banning homosexuality (Section 377 of the IPC), Moily said Union Home Minister P Chidrambaram has invited the home ministers and health ministers of all states for a discussion on the issue. “Moreover, the matter is pending before the Delhi High Court. After arguments, the order has been reserved,” he said refusing to give a definite answer.

He also disclosed that about 100 special CBI courts and 200 family courts will be set up to decide corruption and family-related cases. The four metropolitan cities will have commercial courts to handle corporate cases.

Comments (+)